They say life comes at you fast. Yesterday I’m sat in a hot tub on an outrageously luxurious spa break (David Attenborough voice: “And here we observe the completely unnatural habitat of the beleaguered forty-something Fifer. He looks…hungry?”) and today I’m on Update duty. We deal the hand we’re dealt with folks. And how can it be November already? They say office banter reaches its banterous peak today “Take the mask off Margaret, Halloween was yesterday” but we can resist it if we all stick together.
Listen, if you work in the advice profession, todays Update is a very special kind of Update. Special for me anyway. And I’m using the Scottish definition of special which means “a bit stressy if we’re honest”. Last week we launched our big, hairy State of the Adviser Nation (SOTAN) study to our advice panel. It’s the biggest research thing we do by a mile each year which means it’s my biggest thing. Hence my bus being parked down Anxiety Avenue. Toot toot!
We sent the survey out to our wonderful advice panel at the tail end of last week behind the scenes but I guess this is its big dinner jacket and sparkly mirror ball launch with it going in the weekly Update. Because emails are 50% more real if they have branding on them. Little marketing tip for you there folks.
The launch is a wee bit later this year (there’s your link #1 to the title) than SOTAN’s Passim and that’s less about spa breaks and incompetence and more about working really rather hard to make this a better experience for the folk completing it. My esteemed colleague Kate takes all the credit for this and based on the data we’re seeing, she’ll make me redundant soon enough.
Marketing tip #2 for you is that you can’t dedicate a weekly mailer absent of any content whatsoever and disguise it via layered whimsy. No folks, you demand CONTENT and CONTENT you shall receive. Of the just under 100 or so good people who have completed the study so far, here’s some of the things that have caught my eye:
- Business is tough. No insight prizes coming our way for this but this is coming through clear as day in the early data. Turnover is flatter than previous years. You’re telling us that money is leaving platforms due to a combination of cost of living and withdrawals to cash. And there’s a bit at the start where we get you to sum up the year in one word. There’s a couple I can’t print here.
- We want SOTAN to be just as much about how you feel about the sector and your profession as a whole rather than just a reductive look at X% of you use this bit of kit. There’s one or two really interesting bits coming through on that front so far, especially the disconnect between different roles in the profession when we ask about things like clear career paths and qualification standards. Early days on the data but if this holds then we’ll be shouting about that in the weeks to come.
- Three-quarters of you thus far are saying that Consumer Duty hasn’t had a tangible impact on your firm.
- A quarter of you are either already using or plan to use some degree of AI within your firm within the year. Interesting.
- Everyone hates their platforms, right? Can’t do anything right, can they? Well, given a consequence-free magic wand, three-quarters of you would choose the same primary platform.
HANG ON STEVE, I DON’T AGREE WITH ANY OF THIS?
One very real way of putting that right is to join the gang and take part. But here’s the really important bit this year. As I was in the hot tub yesterday waiting on my quinoa and granola something-or-other-lunch my mind wandered onto work in a way that we all promise ourselves we won’t with sweet, sweet comforting lies. I was reflecting on the first ever blog I wrote for the lang cat back in May 2013. I remember talking about paraplanning often being the unsung, underrepresented part of the sector as a whole and how I’d like to do something about that. Truth is, I’ve done a bad job. But this year is different.
In SOTAN 6 we have a dedicated section to the paraplanning profession and if you can do one thing for me this year, it would be to send the study on to the paraplanners in your firm, or indeed the outsourced paraplanners you use. Of the 500 or so who will take part in our study each year, this year I want at least a 100 of those to come from the paraplanning profession so that I can do a better job of representing those voices in our study. As I said, better late than never.
AT LEAST THE LINKS AREN’T LATE
Links below and Your music choice is one of my very favourite tracks for no other reason than I played cool Dad the other week when my lad and I went to Dublin for what might well be my favourite ever gig. It’s Do I Wanna Know by your Arctic Monkeys.